Second Lawrence police officer in ticket-fixing investigation no longer employed with the city

The second Lawrence police officer who was suspended related to an internal traffic ticket-fixing investigation is no longer employed with the city, Police Chief Tarik Khatib said Thursday.

“As this still is a personnel matter, we will not identify the person or comment further,” Khatib said.

But City Manager David Corliss did confirm, when asked by the Journal-World, that Sgt. Michael Monroe was no longer employed by the city of Lawrence. Monroe left the city’s employment Wednesday. Corliss declined to comment on whether Monroe was the second Lawrence police officer suspended in connection with the ticket-fixing investigation. Corliss did not provide any details about Monroe’s departure from the city, where he had been employed in the Police Department since 1991.

“This is still a personnel matter that’s being handled through the city’s personnel procedures,” Monroe told the Journal-World when reached Thursday afternoon.

Monroe was promoted to sergeant in 2004, where he worked as a patrol supervisor until 2009. He later moved to the office of professional accountability. In 2011 he became a sergeant in the investigations division.

The second suspended officer had been an employee, but still on suspension, at the end of the day Wednesday. Corliss said on Thursday, to the best of his knowledge, the city no longer has any employees in the police department who are on suspension. The city has not publicly identified the two officers who were suspended earlier this year after the FBI investigated allegations that speeding tickets were dismissed in exchange for Kansas University basketball tickets.

The city did confirm Feb. 24 that Sgt. Matt Sarna had resigned his job with the department that day and that a personnel investigation regarding Sarna was complete. But city officials would not confirm Sarna was linked to the ticket investigation.

Last May, following an anonymous complaint, an internal investigation was launched, followed by a federal investigation, into allegations speeding tickets were dismissed.

The city has said the individual whose speeding tickets were dismissed was a former Kansas Athletics Inc. employee now serving time in federal prison for his role in the broader KU tickets-for-cash scandal.

City officials have said one police officer had a friendship dating to the late 1990s or early 2000s with the former athletics official who had access to basketball tickets. The officer received free, discounted or special access to athletic events over several years. The athletics official did ask for help with various speeding tickets.

The officer who resigned Feb. 24 asked the second officer — who was no longer employed by the city Thursday — two or three times for help in fixing a ticket. The officer who helped “may have been the beneficiary of KU tickets through the first employee,” according to a Feb. 24 statement Khatib provided about the investigation. The other speeding tickets were fixed by asking officers who issued or were about to issue a ticket to void it or not issue it, but those officers did not knowingly receive anything in return, Khatib said.

Corliss said Thursday that the city has not obtained any information since Feb. 24 that the scope and the number of officers involved in fixing speeding tickets had increased.

At the city’s request, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and the U.S. Attorney’s Office investigated the case and decided against filing federal charges of bribery or other offenses, but Khatib said the conduct violated the city’s gratuity and solicitation policies. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson is reviewing the case as well.